Posted: 06/28/2011


Hempsters: Plant the Seed


by Daniel Engelke

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“Can’t we all just like, get along?”

Hempsters is a commendably well-assembled documentary. In what would appear as simply another pro-marijuana film, it actually proves the benefits and uses of industrial hemp without the typical aspects associated with such efforts.

The 86-minute documentary presents its well-constructed argument through titled sections. From traditional hemp growers and negative legislation to slash and burned Native American reservations, the sequences encompass the good, the bad, and the ugly of the controversial plant.

What can really be applauded in Hempsters is the invisible slant. Nearly all documentaries have a certain bias, but first-time director Michael Henning seems to bypass this pitfall. Using a multi-regional cast of well-spoken activists and celebrities, nearly all viewers of the film will leave without a retort. Though the film occasionally hits a dud with repetition and some low-production quality, Hempsters is the high the hemp movement has been searching for.

Daniel Engelke is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago’s Film & Video program. He resides in New York as a freelance writer and videographer. With expertise in French & British New Wave Cinema and Italian Neo-Realism, Daniel also works as a director and intern for Edward Bass Films.

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